Deal puts his former top lawyer on state Appeals Court

Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday appointed his former top lawyer to the state Court of Appeals.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Todd Markle will fill the seat vacated by Judge Billy Ray, who was recently confirmed by the Senate for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

Markle, who served as Deal's executive counsel in 2011, has presided over Fulton's Veterans Court, which takes cases involving veterans charged with nonviolent offenses and who suffer from mental illness or have substance abuse issues. The accountability court seeks to keep these vets out of prison and get them on the road to recovery through treatment programs.

Markle graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia in 1986 and cum laude from Mercer University’s law school in 1989.

Also Friday, Deal appointed McDonough lawyer Pandora Palmer to be a judge on Henry County’s State Court bench. Palmer will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge James Chafin III.